Public confidence in the institutions of government is a vital prerequisite to their being able to carry out their functions and make decisions. The institution of Parliament is arguably the most important institution in Western democracies. The “business of Parliament” in its many shapes and guises is, and will by its very nature continue to be, of great interest to many sectors of the community.
The principles of transparency and accountability are deeply embedded in all Westminster-style parliamentary systems. Yet there is an increasing public expectation of still more openness in the processes of Parliament and a stringent requirement for fiscal constraint in parliamentary expenditure – as in all areas of government.
Of equal importance in any parliamentary system, and vital to the public funding of parliamentary business, is the constitutional principle of the independence of Parliament from the Executive and the distinctive character of the legislature.
Within this broad picture is the question of how best to resource the work of Parliament and members of Parliament. History shows that this is not a simple question with a simple answer. It is one that is fundamental to the larger issue of the effectiveness of Parliament as the basic institution of New Zealand democracy, and its central position in the ground between Government and the wider community.
There will always be scope to improve the effectiveness - and the workability - of the arrangements for designing, allocating and managing the funding for members’ support.
MDL has particular expertise in the governance and funding of Parliament, combining the perspective of good public administration with an in-depth understanding of Parliament’s institutional environment and the importance of a system that produces proper resourcing for the work of Parliament and its MPs. MDL Principal Adrienne von Tunzelmann, a former Deputy Clerk of the New Zeland House of Representatives, has worked in an official capacity on successive reviews of the governance, management and resourcing of the New Zealand Parliament and has a sound understanding of the universal issues for Westminster-style parliaments generally.
See our Resources section for official published reports.